Options Create a Complex Equipment Value Proposition

When you purchase a GPS receiver, you expect it to do what the data sheet says it does. However, your expectation needs to be tempered by OPTIONS.

The ‘Bozo Navigation’ Case Study

Consider the latest RTK receiver made by ‘Bozo Navigation’. The web site and brochures state that the receiver has these capabilities:

tracks 321 channels with advanced multi-path DSP driven rejection,
tracks GLONASS, tracks L2C, tracks L5
tracks COMPASS/BeiDou, tracks GALILEO, tracks QZSS
accepts CMR+ corrections, accepts RTCM3 corrections, does L2
can be used as a RTK rover,  can be used as a RTK base, stores raw data for post processing

You purchase a pair of BZN-1000 receivers for $9,000 and a data collector with collection software for $1,750 (that would be $10,750 for a complete RTK pair with a collector and collection software!) but then find out:

  • Advanced DSP Multipath Rejection is +$800 option
  • GLONASS activation is $1,000
  • L2 tracking is $1,995
  • L2C is $500
  • L5 is $500
  • COMPASS/BeiDou is $1,000
  • GALILEO is $500 (however, the receiver can not track BeiDou and GALILEO simultaneously)
  • QZSS is $500
  • Advanced correction support (CMR+ & RTCM3) costs $1,200
  • Big distance RTK (longer than 2.5 KM baseline) costs $1,500
  • RTK rover costs $1,995 and RTK base costs $500
  • Raw data storage is $1,000 + $500 per gigabyte

Perhaps that was not such a good deal after all, ehh? (Oh, you want a tailgate with that truck AND air in the tires?)

How about a subscription model, where you only rent the options on a yearly basis? You can get all these options ($11,500 per receiver) on a 12-months subscription for the low price of $1,150 per year per receiver! (Actually this would be a killer deal and is not that bad of an idea, I will write about it in a future entry.)

Options are SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

This is the way that most GPS companies work. That some companies do it, makes other companies have to follow suit because they have to compete.

I will give you an example:

Consider you are purchasing a reference station to use in a real-time-network. You could care less about most of these options. All you want is GPS, GLONASS, L2 and base output. And and by they way, you are going to purchase 1,200 base receivers in 2014 alone.

Guess what? You are going to pay about $4,200 per receiver for each network base. And it may be reasonable that you don’t have the rest of the options. Totally reasonable. You are purchasing BASE receivers and don’t care about RTK rover capabilities and enhancements.

The SP80 Standard Option List

It is against this backdrop of optional-options that I offer up a case study in real RTK GPS value. (Disclosure… I am a SP dealer so take this with a grain of self promoting salt.)

Here is the option list for a standard SP80 GPS receiver:


If there are any additional options, I don’t know what they are because I can’t purchase them.

The SP80 is available with and without a internal UHF radio module in the USA. That’s it. There are NO software options. None. Everything is enabled out of the box and ready to go.

Let’s hope this is a growing trend. I think it is good for the purchaser.

Good surveying and mapping to you!



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